Urban: My First (And Surely Only) Standing Ovation

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Urban: My First (And Surely Only) Standing Ovation

Sept. 22, 2010
GIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEOMychael UrbanCSNBayArea.com

CHICAGO -- Ever wonder what it feels like to have a stadium full of people going nuts as you walk off a baseball field?I got to experience it Tuesday night.Granted, the wild cheering from the fans at Wrigley Field as I climbed the steps of the Giants dugout and stepped onto the field wasnt exactly directed at me. In fact, it wasnt directed at me at all. But that didnt stop me from turning it into one of the more amusing moments of my 20-year career in sports journalism.It all happened because the game was delayed by rain, so CSN Bay Area had some time to fill on the air back home. They called me in the press box and asked me to head down to the dugout for a quick live hit with the SportsNet Central anchors. I have to admit it was a little awkward at first; about 20 Giants were in the extremely narrow visitors dugout at Wrigley, and I had to do the hit from the end of the dugout. Its one thing to be in the clubhouse a couple hours before the game, quite another to be in the dugout potentially minutes before one.The guys were cool about it, though. They understood I was just doing my job. And as soon as I was done doing my job, I rewarded their tolerance with a little impromptu comedy.You see, while I was doing my thing in the dugout, the rain stopped, and by the time I was finished and ready to bounce out of the dugout, out bounced the Cubs grounds crew to remove the tarp.Thats when the crowd went nuts -- right when my left foot hit the dirt in front of the dugout. The timing of it was too perfect to ignore, so I did what any self-respecting class clown would do under such circumstances.I pimped it. Big-time.As I walked in front of the Giants dugout, past all of the players and toward the swinging gate that leads to the lower-bowl stairs you have to climb on your way to the press box, I raised both arms in acknowledgment of the roar. I nodded emphatically, a non-verbal, Damn right, Im all that!I even pointed to the upper deck down the left-field line, then did a 180 and pointed to the upper deck down the right-field line.A good number of the players saw it, knew exactly what I was doing and howled in delight. A couple good-naturedly heckled me: Thats not for you!Of course it wasnt. But I sold that bad boy like you wouldnt believe, and some of the many Giants fans whod scored seats in the lower bowl helped me sell it when I worked my way up the steps by meeting me in the aisle with high-fives.By the time I got to the top row of the lower bowl, I could feel the eyes of every Cubs fans in the vicinity squarely on me, likely thinking one of two things: (1) Who the hell is that? (2) What a jackass!You think I cared? I laughed the whole way to the press box.What's on your mind? Email Mychael and let him know. He may use it in his Mailbag.

Altidore, Dempsey lead US past Costa Rica, into Gold Cup final at Levi's

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AP

Altidore, Dempsey lead US past Costa Rica, into Gold Cup final at Levi's

BOX SCORE

ARLINGTON, Texas — Clint Dempsey fed Jozy Altidore for the go-ahead goal, then scored on a free kick to match Landon Donovan’s American record with his 57th international goal and lead the United States over Costa Rica 2-0 Saturday night and into the CONCACAF Gold Cup championship game.

Playing in his home state of Texas, the 34-year-old Dempsey entered in the 66th minute and made a perfectly timed through pass six minutes later that allowed Altidore to break in alone and beat Patrick Pemberton with a left-footed shot from 10 yards.

Dempsey doubled the lead in the 82nd minute with a 27-yard shot that went around a four-man defensive wall and got past Pemberton on two bounces.

“I saw the keeper cheating a little bit, and it went in,” Dempsey said.

Dempsey has 136 international appearances, trailing only Cobi Jones (164) and Donovan (157) among American players. The assist was his 20th for the national team.

“Coming back from two heart procedures, being able to still play at this level,” Dempsey said in his Texas twang, “living a dream. So I’m happy.”

Trying for their sixth Gold Cup title and first since 2013, the Americans play Mexico or Jamaica in the final on Wednesday at Santa Clara, California.

The U.S. improved to 8-0-5 since Bruce Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann in November and returned for a second stint as national team coach. Arena can become the first coach to win three Gold Cup titles following championships in 2002 and 2005.

Tim Howard got his second straight shutout, making key saves on Marco Urena in the 37th and 71st minutes.

After the second save, Dempsey took a pass from Darlington Nagbe in the center circle, made a cut, and took three touches as he sprinted toward goal. Altidore one-timed a shot for his first national team goal since September and ripped off his No. 27 jersey in a wild celebration, earning a yellow card.

Dempsey’s goal sealed the win, putting the U.S. back in the championship after a shocking semifinal loss to Jamaica two years ago. He was playing for the first time in AT&T Stadium, the $1.2 billion home stadium of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys that is about 180 miles from his hometown of Nacogdoches.

“Congratulations, Clint,” Donovan said while working on the Fox telecast of the game. “Feel free to stop now, we’ll share it together.”

After starting in Wednesday’s quarterfinal win over El Salvador, Dempsey moved to a reserve role against the Ticos. While the U.S. inserted five new starters in a roster rotation, Costa Rica went with the same 11 players who started in Wednesday’s win against Panama.

Costa Rica routed the U.S. 4-0 at home in a World Cup qualifier in November, the final game before Klinsmann was fired and Arena was brought back. And up ahead is another matchup, a qualifier on Sept. 1 at Harrison, New Jersey.

Morris, one of the new starters, hit a post just 11 seconds in.

Just before kickoff, El Salvador defender Henry Romero was suspended for his nation’s next six competitive matches and midfielder Darwin Ceren for the next three, those penalties coming three days after Romero bit Altidore and Ceren bit Omar Gonzalez during the quarterfinal. The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football said the discipline was issued by the Gold Cup disciplinary committee for “anti-sporting behavior.”

A's blow five-run lead, watch Mets walk off with victory

A's blow five-run lead, watch Mets walk off with victory

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK -- Wilmer Flores hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the New York Mets rallied from an early five-run deficit to beat the Oakland Athletics 6-5 Saturday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

Pinch-hitter Lucas Duda delivered a tying single with two outs in the eighth off left-hander Daniel CoulombeJay Bruce hit a two-run homer in the sixth to begin New York's comeback, and Jose Reyes tripled twice.

Flores connected on a 96 mph fastball from Simon Castro (0-1), sending a line drive to left field for the second game-ending homer of his career. That sent a frenzied crowd of 39,629 home happy - hours after fans lined up early in the heat outside Citi Field to get their Noah Syndergaard as Thor bobbleheads.

Matt Joyce hit a leadoff home run and Matt Chapman added a prodigious shot for Oakland, which scored four in the first off struggling Mets starter Zack Wheeler.

Sean Manaea took a shutout into the sixth but then wilted after throwing a career-high 115 pitches Sunday in his previous start, a win against Cleveland.

Hansel Robles (6-1) tossed a hitless inning to win for the second straight day.

MAN ON THE MOVE:
With Mets second baseman Neil Walker nearing a return from the disabled list, perhaps Monday in San Diego, Asdrubal Cabrera made his first major league start at third and played flawless defense after working out at the position once. Cabrera's only previous appearance at the hot corner came during his rookie season in 2007 with Cleveland. "He's a middle infielder who's going to play third base. Got great hands, great arm. He'll be fine," manager Terry Collins said. Cabrera initially balked at shifting from shortstop to second when he came off the DL about a month ago.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Athletics: Ryon Healy had a pinch-hit single after getting hit near the left temple by a bad-hop grounder Friday night. Healy went through the concussion protocol and was cleared, manager Bob Melvin said. ... Melvin said he would have news after the game regarding RHP Jharel Cotton, on the DL since July 4 with a blister on his right thumb. Cotton threw a bullpen Friday. Oakland needs a starter for Monday night at Toronto. ... INF-OF Chad Pinder (strained left hamstring) homered Friday on his rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville and could come off the DL when Oakland begins a homestand next weekend. "That's kind of the target area," Melvin said.

Mets: Walker (left hamstring) went 1 for 3 with Triple-A Las Vegas at Memphis in the first game of rehab assignment. The switch-hitter has been on the DL since June 15. ... LHP Josh Smoker threw a scoreless sixth in his first outing since coming off the disabled list Thursday. Smoker had been sidelined since June 14 with a strained left shoulder.

UP NEXT:
Oakland rookie right-hander Daniel Gossett (1-5, 5.79 ERA) makes his eighth career start in Sunday's series finale against RHP Rafael Montero (1-6, 5.40). Gossett has given up 10 homers in 37 1/3 innings after yielding only four in 60 2/3 innings at Triple-A.